Trailer Time: Reaching for the Wow! Factor

Watch and learn…


That was my first reaction.  This trailer is beautiful!  This trailer is elegant!  This trailer is powerful!  And it’s deceptively simple.

Let’s think this through.  Now, if you’re familiar with epic fantasy novels, then you know that the world or milieu is often a major part of the story.  Early pages in the book, before the text, often show the world or a portion of the world where the story takes place.  So, starting the trailer with a flash of the world map is a good idea that aligns with the genre.

The music is energetic and stimulating, without being so attention-getting that it detracts from what’s going on in the trailer itself.  Note here that instrumental music without lyrics tends to work better for trailers, but there are exceptions.

The majority of the trailer material is text-based, which is an appropriate way to deliver a pitch for a book, but also risks being visually unappealing, which is inappropriate for a trailer.  This trailer gets around this by having a semi-active, interesting visual backdrop that ties into the text.

We are introduced first to a character—a girl—who we learn actively embraces change.  She wants to change the world.  We learn that music is part of her power to be such a force for change.  We also learn that there are those who resist change and therefore want to silence her.

So far, these are all motives and forces we understand and can readily identify with.  I imagine we’ve all, at one point or another, wanted to be a force for change, particularly for positive change (which is an assumption in the case of this story, but I’m going to go with it anyway).  We’ve all also faced (and many of us have been) a force that resists change.  (These motivations are thematic, by the way…just sayin’.)

And, of course, in a world where free speech is becoming an increasingly potent issue, the idea of being silenced is a powerful one.

Now, we move more into plot stuff:  being hunted, being found, needing to act and to change in order to become the change we want to see.

Next, we’re introduced to The Riddler, the title character.  This character’s motives are the point of intrigue.  We have to read the book to learn more.  It’s a great catch and a great image!

Now, all this is beautifully done and it’s certainly motivating for this reader of epic fantasies.  The one and only problem I have is that the trailer did so well with so many things, and yet the person cast in the trailer as the primary actor (the protagonist) is only “a girl.”

This isn’t a gender equality issue.  It’s a naming issue, a characterization issue.  We know enough about the “girl” to be interested in the character, and yet the trailer doesn’t bother to identify her.  I find that rather disappointing.  Would it have been so hard to give us a name?  I guarantee it would be a more potent identifying factor if, in my head, this character who seems so easy to empathize with had a name to go along with the idea of her.

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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3 Responses to Trailer Time: Reaching for the Wow! Factor

  1. acflory says:

    This video definitely had the wow factor for me, but your point about the nameless girl had the reverse effect on me. If she had been named, a part of my brain would have switched off, automatically assuming the story was just another romance novel dressed up as fantasy.
    I know that sounds biased as all hell, but there is so much of that type of stuff around my filters go up without any conscious effort on my part. The lack of a name, and the intriguing title of The Riddler, made me think this might actually be interesting fantasy.

    • lol Absolutely nothing in the trailer suggested romance!

      I agree there’s a lot of romantic fantasy out there. You can thank Stephenie Meyers for that, I’m sure. And like the Twilight series, the primary genre for most of these seems to be romance, not fantasy.

      Anyway, there’s no indication this is anything of the sort. Honestly, I don’t see how naming the character would make a difference, except for the part where a lot of speculative fiction writers get so caught up in concept/plot that they don’t bother using anything more than cardboard cut-out characters.

      I’ve read a LOT of books like that. I don’t remember any of them, not the plot, not the concept, not the writer, not the title. They’re like popcorn movies. You watch, you laugh, you forget what it was all about before you make it out of the parking lot. Except, in my case, I don’t, because I have better things to do with my money.

      • acflory says:

        Trying to remember the last movie I saw. It literally wasn’t that long ago. Damn. Gone.

        I agree this trailer didn’t sound like romance but without a cover, it’s often hard to tell. As for Twilight, I haven’t read any of the books and I haven’t watched any of the movies or TV series. I guess I must be one of the very few people on the planet who hasn’t.

        It’s not that I particularly dislike romance, I just dislike having romance as an end in itself. 😦

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